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Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

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A very sad and convincing book of a dysfunctional family. A dark piece of fiction which is murder mystery, psychological suspense and human drama all rolled into a tale with plenty of disturbing plots. We, the reader, cannot understand what is true, what imagined, what made up as we follow three children growing up in a sick, twisted environment. The mother’s case in particular is very well handled. Highly recommended.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Mother. Mother a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'What an absorbing and disturbing book, I loved it...Great writing, and a debut novel – amazing!' - Melanie Chadwick

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If you like Koren Zailckas you might also like to read books by S. J. Watson, Lionel Shriver and Gillian Flynn.


Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

An electrifying debut novel about what happens when the one who should love you the most becomes your worst enemy. Sure to appeal to fans of GONE GIRL and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN Meet the Hurst Family. Meet Violet Hurst -15 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others? Meet her brother Will Hurst - the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take? Meet oldest sister Rose - the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again. And then meet their mother - Josephine. Perhaps it will then all start to make sense. An electrifying debut novel about a mother's love gone too far


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Mother, Mother. You can read their reviews below.

Melanie Chadwick - 'What an absorbing and disturbing book, I loved it...Great writing, and a debut novel – amazing!' Click Here to read the full review.

Jenny Grange - 'The writing is taut and easy to follow once you have identified the characters and begin to hear their “voice” in their respective chapters.' Click Here to read the full review.

Annette Woolfson - 'Wow! That was one tense, horrifying read – a tale of a not-so-perfect family...I found this book totally engrossing and ended up thanking my lucky stars for my own parents.' Click Here to read the full review.

Michelle McKernan - 'Brilliant! I couldn't put it down and raced through it to find out what was going on. The author kept the pace up all the way through and made me feel real empathy for the main character.' Click Here to read the full review.

Cathy Petersen -
'A slow burning story of obsession and its destructive power within a family that is full of menace and increasing tension very well executed.' Click Here to read the full review.

Victoria Halliday - 'Riveting tale of family life gone wrong when a mother's obsession with her children is taken too far...Highly recommended!' Click Here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'Amazing. This feverish-read-it-all-in-one sitting novel reminded me both of Gone Girl and We Need to Talk About Kevin.' Click Here to read the full review.

Suzanne Bellingham - 'I loved this book. A real page turner, gripping, shocking, thought provoking yet real. The mother of all books relating to dominant psychotic matriarchs with a love that not only drives people away but is terrifying.' Click Here to read the full review.

Andrea Dean - 'On the whole the book is easy to read with short chapters reminiscent of James Patterson is hard to put down without finishing completely to discover what happens to the characters.' Click Here to read the full review.

Jan Kirkcaldy - 'Oh dear – could there really be such a mother in the world? As I read this fascinating yet somewhat scary book I sincerely hoped not.' Click Here to read the full review.

Gill Wilmott - 'The further I got into the book the more involved I became with the characters and the more time I put routine chores aside and curled up with it!I would unreservedly recommend this book.' Click Here to read the full review.

Steph Harding - 'The ending is shocking and a nail biting read. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author. A great debut – couldn’t be better.' Click Here to read the full review.

Alex Hetherington - 'For fans of Gone Girl, this is an enthralling tale, where the mysteries all center from within the Hurst family. There are many mysteries left unturned but all of them come back to the mother.' Click Here to read the full review.

Elena Robertson - 'This book is a thrilling roller coaster ride of emotions and a look inside the lives of a family dysfunctional to the core.' Click Here to read the full review.

Maxine Broadbent - 'Please read this book. It is fabulous. The story of Violet, her younger brother Will and missing elder sister Rose, all struggling with an alcoholic father and a dominating mother is brilliant.' Click Here to read the full review.

Caroline Mathews - 'A page-turning psychological thriller that is uncomfortable to read but utterly mesmerising.' Click Here to read the full review.

Carla Senior - 'I really enjoyed this book and found it quite compelling. It was interesting to see the different perspectives that Will and Violet had on the other family members.' Click Here to read the full review.

Marta Sloma - 'And the Award for the Dysfunctional Family of the Year goes to… The Hursts!' Click Here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster - 'Mother, Mother is an enthralling story of secrets and lies, featuring the most severely dysfunctional family unit I have ever read about.' Click Here to read the full review.

Francesca Ashurst - ' I doubt that I have ever encountered a character as twisted as Josephine. The scariest aspect though is how terrifyingly ‘normal’ she appears and how easily I was drawn into her world.' Click Here to read the full review.

Debbie Patrick - 'Mother, Mother is the terrifying and page-turning story of a mother’s love gone too far, and the introduction of a commanding new voice in fiction.' Click Here to read the full review.

Praise for SMASHED:

'Beautifully written, oddly affecting...
India Knight, The Sunday Times

'One of the most original and brutally honest memoirs I've read in a long while. Koren is a writer's writer - and she wipes the floor with any of her contemporaries'
Helen Walsh, author of Brass

'It is a testament to Zailckas's hard, fast, clever writing that Smashed grips from beginning to end'
The Guardian

'Well and fiercely written'
Hilary Mantel, The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Koren Zailckas

Koren Zailckas is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to the Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskills mountains of New York.

Author photo © Eamon Hamilton

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Book Info

Publication date

16th January 2014


Koren Zailckas

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HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


364 pages


Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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